David Brooks:

De Botton believes that secular people should create communal restaurants that mimic the Passover Seder. Atheists would sit at big, communal tables. They would find guidebooks in front of them, reminiscent of the Jewish Haggadah or the Catholic missal. The rituals of the meal would direct diners to speak with one another, asking questions of their neighbors like “Whom can you not forgive?” or “What do you fear?”

I’m on the road again, which partially explains the lack of posts this week. But anyway, having just eaten at a “family-style dining” restaurant where you’re seated at a long table with at least two other groups of people and introduced to each other by your server, let me just say that de Botton himself is the person whom I cannot forgive. If I may be so blunt, I would add that I currently have a visceral urge to pummel that silly bastard all about his bald, oblong head. What do I fear? I fear being trapped and expected to feign interest in a group of strangers telling me about the awesome biblical musical they just saw while hoping I don’t have to answer busybody questions about the lack of meat on my plate, that’s what I fear. Thanks for asking.

Alain, I’m terribly sorry for your unresolved daddy issues, sorry that you feel lost without the shepherding authority of religion, but seriously, just speak for your fucking self. Some of us are made positively miserable by forced socialization and inane small talk.